January, 2012 – New York Times, Internet Access Is Not a Human Right By Vinton G. Cerf
Vinton G. Cerf is a Fellow of IEEE and Vice President, chief Internet evangelist at Google.
March, 2012 – EE Times, What were they thinking: Patents for Humanity by Brian Bailey
USPTO has started an awards program. It is a pilot program to recognize patent owners who apply their patented technology to address humanitarian needs.
Program applications started March 1st and are open for 6 months, or until they have received 1000 applications and there will be up to 50 award winners. Winners will receive accelerated processing of select patent USPTO matters. This would enable a company to expedite handling of an application, an appeal or reexamination.
Yes, it is a really inspiring talk… and basically it is related to a fundamental mantra of those working in the humanitarian field. They have repeatedly said to make use of the local talent, ingenuity, and inventiveness. A great example is William Kamkwamba, the Malawischoolboy who designed and built a windmill generator for his home in Malawifrom reading a book.
The talk was really interesting and entertaining and the project is a great start to improving people’s lives. It has great value for what it is. I worry, though, that the speaker’s insistence on keeping things rudimentary, while needed and effective at the beginning level and a good way to introduce such effort around the world, could stifle a good opportunity to expose the women (and others) to additional learning. While the approach may be okay for some of the older women, but others of them, and the younger generation, might well benefit from being exposed to words and numbers along the way. As much as the speaker is an advocate for “uneducated” knowledge, the future and the rise out of poverty will be based on education, and I wish he would have acknowledged that it does have a place. I was a bit turned off by his down playing of literacy. Kamkwamba would not have been able to do what he did if he had been illiterate.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
Lew and Bobbie Terman